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Do You Have The Courage To Make A Massive Change?

I’m feeling a bit scared…. I’m quite nervous…..and a bit overwhelmed… But, best of all…..I’m bloody excited! I’ve made a massive change in my life this week and my emotions…

I’m feeling a bit scared….

I’m quite nervous…..and a bit overwhelmed…

But, best of all…..I’m bloody excited!

I’ve made a massive change in my life this week and my emotions are running high.

On the 5th July 2010 I gave birth to a little bubba who is now 3 years old (I’m gonna be a proud mummy now, so check out the pic below).

My Baby

My Baby

This was a wonderful experience but also a little scary and changed my hubby’s life and mine extensively (probably not unlike most new parents). After about 6 months of being at home with a baby, I decided I really needed to get back to work and have some mental stimulation again. I went back to work just 2 days a week and I was lucky as I have a pretty awesome Mum who agreed to look after bub so that I could do this.

In that first 6 months back at work and looking after a baby I realised a few things about myself:

  1. I think I went back to work too early… was excruciatingly hard and I was constantly tired.
  2. My baby was the most important part of my life and I wanted to be there for all of the important milestones.
  3. I was trying to do too much and……
  4. I was unhappy.

I couldn’t really quite work out why I was so unhappy. Thinking about it now, I’m sure lack of sleep was probably the likely answer. I still struggle with this and know that for me sleep is so very important and makes everything seem so much better.

But also having a little baby really helped put things into perspective for me. Before my Little Miss Three came along, I had no problem with working long days. I’d quite often still be at work at 7pm at night and on weekends too. But with a baby to care for this is not really possible. But also, I didn’t want to miss out on breakfast time, dinner and all the little moments that you have with your child.

It was about this time that I started reading all I could find out there on finding your passion, making a change and I suppose thinking about the meaning of life. If you’ve ever searched on the web for this type of information, then you would know that there is plenty of it out there. I also decided then to start a blog documenting my journey about how I wanted to make a change in my life. It was called Mel’s Crossroad. And that’s exactly how I felt, I was at a cross road and I could decide how and where I wanted to go. If you want to read about how Top Notch Teaching came to be….then definitely head over there to have a little look.

I’m sure some people thought I was crazy. I had a great job. I worked at a large university here; I had awesome conditions and got paid extremely well. But, I wanted more flexibility. And most of all I realised how much I missed working with kids.

Now you could say that I had a colourful journey as a classroom teacher, and if you’d like to read more about this journey, then be sure to read: Why I Quit Teaching. As I was reading all about finding ‘your passion’, I realised that I absolutely and unequivocally loved teaching. But, unfortunately going back to being a classroom teacher with a baby wouldn’t work for me. I’m definitely one of those people that become consumed by my work, and I wanted more for my little girl and didn’t want to take away from our time together.

I really thought about the parts of teaching that I liked the most and came up with:

  • I love talking with other teachers about ‘best practice’ and how we can improve and make learning much more fun and engaging.
  • I don’t actually consider myself to be an overly creative person, but I really enjoy the process of designing lessons and teaching resources and materials to support my teaching.
  • I enjoy working with kids in small groups and one-on-one.

Thinking about this really then set the wheels in motion…..I had really enjoyed blogging about finding my passion and connecting with people online. This made me consider starting a teaching blog. I already followed a number of teaching blogs and loved reading how they helped their students learn, ideas they came up with, but most of all having a dialogue about teaching.

That is when Top Notch Teaching was born :-). I launched this little ole blog back in March 2012 and have loved every single minute of my blogging journey. I have made some fantastic bloggy friends from around the globe and I have learnt so much about how to become a better teacher.

I’ve still continued to work at the university, but decided last year I didn’t want to stay and that I really wanted to leave my ‘day job’ and work for myself as part of Top Notch Teaching. But, as you probably know everyone needs a certain amount of money….right? This was no different for us.

When I started my blog I also started to make downloadable teaching resources that I could sell online. I now sell these both here at my blog store, and also at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

I was feeling pretty fulfilled, the blog was going well and I was starting to sell some of my stuff too. But the one thing that still felt missing for me was interacting and working with kids. I didn’t really know how I could do this without being in the classroom. And that’s when I had a chat with a very good friend of mine who convinced me that I needed to do some additional courses and retrain to become dyslexia / learning specialist. Mmmmm I hadn’t really ever thought about this before. You know what though, I’m so glad that I had this conversation with my friend as it was just what I needed to really make the leap and be able to give up the ‘day job’.

I have spent the last 6 months retraining to be able to provide students with a learning difficulty the intervention that they need to be able to read, spell and write. I have learnt a wonderful new reading programme and am excited as I’ve also begun to work with a girl that has dyslexia.

I have one client so far, I have a blog, I sell teaching resources…….but I’m no where nearly making the money I was at the university. But I realised that I need time so that I have space to take on more clients, there’s no point having this amazing training and all of these ideas, if then you don’t have time to put into practice what had been learnt.

So guess what……I did it…….I have made a huge leap… last day at work, my day job, was on Wednesday last week. I am officially working on Top Notch Teaching full time….as my job. I felt so overwhelmed on Wednesday night, what if I couldn’t make a go of this? What if I don’t get any more clients? What if I don’t sell any more teaching resources? What if this is the biggest mistake I’ve ever made? Ever felt that way?

But three things happened overnight on Wednesday and during Thursday that made me think that maybe, just maybe it was going to be okay and I am on the right track. I received two emails on Wednesday night from large publishers wanting to have a chat with me about how I could help them. I also received an email from a very good friend of mine, who has been my mentor and helped me to dream. She wrote:

“Leaving a day job is hard but you’re on a roll – just keep the motivation up and reach out to your support network (yep, I’m one of them) when you need it. Don’t let yourself struggle. Write a post about leaving your day job to work on TNT full time, and about your fears, but the excitement also. Big smiles!”

And that is just what I’ve done. Writing this post has really helped, I feel like you guys are my support network….you know what it’s like to be a teacher……you know what it’s like to want to reach out and help a child in need……and I’m sure many of you are parents and know what it’s like to have a balance so that you can have time with your kids.

So now I’ll be working from home on 3 days during the week when My Little Miss Three is in day care. I can be flexible with my day, so that I can drop my little girl off in the morning and pick her up in the afternoon, I’m free to attend special events with her during the day, I’ll be there for her first day of school and for assemblies and all the other important events for kids.

I’m feeling super excited and can’t wait to share more of my journey with you. But I’d also love to know…..

Have you ever had the courage to make a massive change?

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  1. Donna

    Your are an inspiration, Melinda! This is a wonderful post and I have loved watching your journey from Mel’s crossroad to Top Notch Teaching. Sounds like you have surrounded yourself with wonderful people.

    • Melinda

      Hey there you 🙂

      Thanks for being my sounding board and for the idea in the first place…..and yes wonderful people indeed 😉


  2. John Walker

    Hi Melinda,
    Well done! I’m sure you have the expertise, the energy and the grit to make a success of going it alone.
    Good luck!

    • Melinda

      Hey John,

      Well it’s only because I absolutely loved the new Sounds~Write training I had…and from a couple of pretty great presenters. I really feel like I can make a difference now 😀


  3. Vicki

    Well done Mel, I am sure this decision is the right one for you. One of the hardest lessons I have learned over the last 3 years is to be patient, keep slowly plodding your way forward and just give things time to grow…after a while they start to blossom…as they are now for you. Big Congratulations!

    • Melinda

      Hey Vicki,

      Yes I don’t think patience is really my thing, but things have slowly but surely been growing and moving in the direction that is right for me. You know you were a big part of me making a change, when you moved to the other side of the world, I was totally amazed that someone could have the courage to do that. As always thanks for your wise words 🙂


  4. Amanda

    Hey Mel (smelly…oops sorry). I just wanted to confess that I hadn’t read a blog of yours for a while…but I’m so glad I just read this. Wow you’ve come a long way. Your writing, interest and honesty are spot on. You’re getting good at this – I almost even welled up with pride…almost (must’ve been the red wine). All the best big sis!

    • Melinda

      Hey Little Sis,

      What you haven’t been reading my blog, shock 😉 Haha thanks for the nice words…I’d say it’s definitely the red wine talking 😀


  5. Yacine

    I am very happy to read about your story. I really felt it and it is touching. All what I can say is that you’re a great person and mum.


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